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Wait! Don't buy Windows Vista!

Microsoft's new OS is the best Windows ever. But don't buy it!

By Mike Elgan
January 25, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Unless you've recently emerged from a coma, you know the consumer versions of Microsoft's new Vista operating system ship Tuesday. Over the next few weeks, NBA star LeBron James will try to convince you to move to Windows Vista as part of Microsoft's massive ad campaign.

This column is not a review of Windows Vista. I'm not here to tell you what's great about Vista or what's wrong with it.

This article is for those of you who are about to download or purchase Windows Vista and install it on a PC. I'm here to talk you out of it. Just say no to LeBron James and Windows Vista -- for now. Here's why.

1. Vista is incomplete

Microsoft is already planning its first service pack and seeking input from users on what to include. Vista probably won't be truly ready for prime time until that first service pack version, possibly later this year.

The hardware and software companies that make compatible products for Vista aren't all ready for the new operating system. Many of those companies are scrambling to complete Vista drivers and updates. Most importantly, not all video and sound card companies are ready.

Audio and peripheral maker Creative publishes a list detailing the status of drivers for each of its many products. Most of their Sound Blaster Internal products already have Vista drivers available. Two of them have only a "beta 2" version of the drivers. Three of their older products say "No Development Planned." Most of their cameras and other peripherals have no Vista-specific drivers available.

On the Advanced Micro Devices site, you can find information about Vista readiness of ATI graphics cards (AMD and ATI merged last year). Most are supported by a Catalyst Vista Software Driver, which is "beta," and are plagued by a long list of published "known issues." It also comes with the following warning: "ATI does NOT recommend installing these drivers in systems used for mission critical operations or where productivity of any kind is a concern."

These two companies are on the leading edge of supporting Vista. Their partial readiness for Vista is symptomatic for the larger companies. Many smaller peripheral makers simply have no Vista support at all.

At least OEMs, Alienware and Polywell, are aggressively pushing XP over Vista, because both say graphics and other drivers for Vista aren't quite ready for prime time.

Software, such as the security suites you may have already paid for, may not run on Vista, and some require updates that aren't ready yet.

Trend Micro, Panda, CA and Symantec all have announced that they'll ship updated suites on Tuesday -- just in time for the consumer availability of Vista.



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